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School: J.W. Mitchell High School

Area of Specialization: General Education

County: Pasco

Certifications: BCBA, CPR


Jennifer was born and raised in upstate New York. As a student, sje studied at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. In 2005 she obtained a Bachelor's of Art in Linguistics, with a concentration in language, society, and communication. Shortly after my undergraduate studies she entered graduate school at D'Youville College, in Buffalo, NY. Over the next 18 months she earned a master's degree in secondary special education. Her master's project was entitled "The Issues of the Contemporary Special Education Teacher: Qualifications, Professional Attitudes, Attrition, and Support." This paper addressed the issues and concerns of promising special education teachers and how schools may be able to better support this group. Along with her paper, she also developed a website which complimented the findings of the paper, "A Practical Guide to Co-Teaching and Inclusion."

In the fall of 2007, she began teaching in the Buffalo Public Schools, in Buffalo, NY. The schools she worked in were located in an inner-city environment, which was, and continues to be riddled with crime and poverty. Over her four year tenure, she taught students at the high school level, who had various exceptionalities and abilities. She held several roles including: teaching functional, community based curriculums, the general education curriculum in the self – contained settings, and co-teaching and consult facilitation of the general education curriculum.

In the spring of 2011, she left Buffalo and moved to Florida. In October of 2011, she accepted a position at Palm Harbor Middle School in Pinellas County as the Behavior Specialist. As the school's Behavior Specialist, teachers, staff members, parents, and students look to her for resources, direction, and assistance with both behaviors and how best to educate this diverse population. Her school currently has three autism spectrum disorder units and two Asperger's units, with nearly forty students. Writing and facilitating FBA and PBIPs are a primary duty of hers. She provides supports not just for her students being supported by the above mentioned units but also for any one of their nearly 1500 students. The goal always is to use proactive interventions which will result in appropriate and positive behavior change. In addition to these duties, she also spearheaded a school-wide positive behavior program for the 2012-2013 school year called "Harbor Heroes." This program recognizes students exhibiting positive and appropriate behaviors throughout the Palm Harbor Middle School Campus. She is also on several committees within her school including RtI Team, the Crisis Team, Child Study Team, and the Educational Leadership Team assisting in making school based decisions.

PEPSA Partner: Proposed Project (2012)

Project Description:

The PEPSA project will be comprised of more productive ways to incorporate the teaching of positive behavior strategies within the curriculum.

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This product was developed by the Partnership for Effective Programs for Students with ASD, a project funded by the State of Florida, Department of Education, K-12 Public Schools, Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services, through federal assistance under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part B.